Toronto businessman Nazim Gillani's business dealings last year with former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer were more extensive and formal than previously thought, according to documents tabled at a parliamentary committee today.
As he is set to speak in public for the first time since he became the subject of front-page stories across the country three weeks ago, Mr. Gillani has revealed details of a written contract with Green Power Generation, the company founded last year by Mr. Jaffer and business partner Patrick Glémaud.
The contract, according to Mr. Gillani, was dated Sept. 21 of last year, or 10 days after Mr. Jaffer's arrest on drug and impaired driving charges. (He pleaded guilty to careless driving last month; the other charges were dropped.) There was no clear payment schedule in the document, but rather an understanding that the matter would be decided depending on the outcome of various projects.
The documents suggest that the contacts between Mr. Gillani and Mr. Jaffer continued until recently.
In the contract, signed by Mr. Glémaud, Green Power Generation states that "it is in ongoing dialogue with, and has valuable connections to and with, the government of Canada and various departments, ministries, and wholly or partially owned entities thereof."
To review Mr. Gillani's testimony, click on the grey box below.
Mr. Jaffer, on the other hand, played down his business relation with Mr. Gillani during an appearance before the same committee a week ago.
"We realized very quickly after a few meetings with him that our firms were very divergent, that we had no synergies where we could develop a relationship, so that exploration ended at that stage," Mr. Jaffer said.
"If you are a businessman who is smart, you don't jump into bed with anyone immediately. You take the time to learn about them, and if you find there is no synergy, you leave them in good nature and you don't work with them. That is what happened with Mr. Gillani," he said.
Mr. Jaffer also insisted that he never used the political connections developed over 11 years as an MP in Ottawa, from 1997 to 2008, to further his business interests. He explained that shortly after his lost his seat in the 2008 election, he assured Prime Minister Stephen Harper that he would not engage in any lobbying activities.
Mr. Jaffer said that as he built his business, he particularly wanted to avoid creating uncomfortable situations for his wife, Helena Guergis, who was named junior minister of state for the status of women.
"I made that clear before I started this business, to protect my wife, to protect the friendships that I had [with members of the government] that a) I did not feel comfortable ever approaching them for anything, especially related to my business, and b) I never wanted my wife in any conflict situation, so I refused to do that sort of work," Mr. Jaffer told the committee.
Environment Minister Jim Prentice has since revealed in the House of Commons, however, that Mr. Jaffer was in Ms. Guergis's parliamentary office last year when he made representations to a Conservative staffer on behalf of an outside company.
The company, which has turned up to be RLP Energy Inc., is a Canada-U.S. operation that is developing technology to limit mercury emissions in coal plants.